‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ hopes to jolt a rebounding theater trade

'Thor: Love and Thunder' hopes to jolt a rebounding theater industry

Now, halfway through 2022, the reports of the death of theaters appear to be greatly exaggerated. Audiences have returned to the cineplex for hits like “Top Gun: Maverick,” The Batman” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and there’s hope in Hollywood that these films are the rule, not the exception, for the rest of the year.
Theaters should get hit with another bolt of lightning this weekend when “Thor: Love and Thunder,” Marvel’s latest film, hits cineplexes. Starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman as the God(s) of Thunder, it is projected to have a debut of $150 million in North America. The film made a strong $29 million on Thursday night.

“Theaters have seen a renaissance of sorts this year with traditional blockbusters — sequels, superheroes and slasher pics — leading the box office brigade,” Jeff Bock, senior analyst at entertainment research firm Exhibitor Relations, told CNN Business.

Yet despite the optimism, the industry is still not completely back. Streaming remains a…